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Alcohol & the Coronavirus: How to Avoid an Alcohol Relapse in Quarantine

Woman drinking coffee and looking at her laptop

In order to try and mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, people across the world are being urged to stay home and keep their distance from others.

For many, these practices are frustrating and even wearing on their mental health, but for recovering alcoholics, their sobriety may also be in danger.

The Connection Between Quarantine and Drinking

Although bars and clubs may be off-limits, it hasn’t stopped many from having a few drinks. In fact, liquor stores are considered essential businesses in most places, and people are flocking to them. Nielsen reported that alcohol sales across the board in the United States rose 55% in the week of March 15 to March 21.1 While this drastic spike may be due, in part, to the initial stay-at-home orders or the at-home St. Patty’s Day celebrations, it looks like these increased sales may continue for several reasons.

One possible reason that more people are turning to alcohol may simply be boredom. With people unable to mostly leave their home and many activities off limits, there is less to do. In order to pass the time, some people are turning to alcohol. Especially if they got laid off because of the coronavirus, some people may now be drinking instead of working because they believe they have nothing better to do.

Another likely reason behind the possible increase in drinking habits is that people are self-medicating with alcohol. Along with the loneliness associated with social isolation, COVID-19 is causing large amounts of coronavirus anxiety and stress from uncertainty, fear of getting sick, and financial strain. In order to cope with all of these negative emotions, many people are turning to alcohol. Unfortunately, this type of coping can make their mental health even worse in the long-run and eventually lead to alcoholism. Without help from an alcohol treatment center, many people will find that their drinking starts to negatively impact various aspects of their life.

Sober Activities & Tips to Avoid Relapse in Quarantine

While many of people are filling their glasses for a virtual happy hour to pass the time, others are recovering alcoholics who may be relapsing under the stress. Whether you have been sober for several years now or you only recently completed treatment like our Philly intensive outpatient program, do not let the coronavirus cost you your sobriety.

Combating Drinking from Boredom in Quarantine

It is not uncommon to experience alcohol cravings when boredom sets in. If you are struggling to avoid drinking in quarantine for this reason, try to get busy.

Some sober activities to try in quarantine instead of drinking include:

  • Exercise
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Arts and crafts
  • Puzzles
  • Card games
  • Video games
  • Reading
  • Journaling
  • Housework
  • Facetiming with friends and family
  • Cooking or baking
  • Gardening
  • Learning a new skill virtually
  • Creating a to-do list you can look forward to completing after quarantine

Tips to Cope & Avoid Relapse During Quarantine

Boredom may only be part of the problem. Many recovering alcoholics are struggling to avoid relapse in quarantine because of their mental health. While you may have learned some healthy coping strategies like biofeedback or meditation in rehab, this pandemic is a trying time that may require extra support.

Follow these added tips to avoid a drinking relapse in quarantine if you are feeling tempted:

  • Connect with friends and family virtually, but avoid virtual happy hours
  • If you are in quarantine with someone else, have them keep you accountable
  • Remove alcohol from the home or have someone lock it up/hide it
  • Attend virtual support meetings more regularly than you normally would
  • Set time aside to actively practice your sobriety each day by employing tactics like mindfulness
  • Don’t run errands alone, if possible, to avoid buying alcohol
  • Try a new sober hobby

If you do relapse, it is okay. Our relapse recovery program in Philadelphia helps people like you who may have faltered during their recovery journey get back on track. This program can keep a relapse from developing back into addiction.

If you or someone you know has recently relapsed because of COVID-19 or has yet to get help, start today. At Banyan Philadelphia, we are still open and take every precaution possible to protects our patients and staff during this time. To learn more, call us today at 888-280-4763.

To begin the sobriety journey or to get more information about our facility at Banyan Philadelphia, reach out to us today at 888-280-4763.

Sources & References:

  1. New York Post - Americans are drinking a crazy amount of alcohol during coronavirus lockdown

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
Alcohol & the Coronavirus: How to Avoid an Alcohol Relapse in Quarantine
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